Gloucestershire City Council
“We asked for Ark’s support at very short-notice to enable our local Partnership of six District Councils, the County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner and CCG to redesign our Ending Rough Sleeping strategy and to submit a bid for the Rough Sleeping Initiative which was supported by our broad Partnership. The project involved some really challenging decisions and trade-offs the Partnership needed to make in the context of a reducing budget allocation, and different views from the Partners about how the existing programme was working.
To begin with I was personally sceptical about using consultants for this exercise, as my previous experience has been that the result can be a lack of ownership with key stakeholders which makes implementation difficult down the line and leaves room for different interpretations of what has been agreed. I needn’t have worried. Lynn and Jane did an outstanding job of facilitating genuine participation from the Partners, including understanding and responding to their varying perspectives and objectives. They worked flexibly with me to ensure that the whole project was delivered on time and to a good standard: conducting a series of individual stakeholder interviews; supporting delivery of Partnership-wide workshops; and pulling together written returns – providing indispensable in providing the support needed to get this done work, while still giving ample time and opportunity to add direction or nuance where needed. I’m hugely appreciative of the indispensable support they gave on this project – there is no doubt that we could not have done this without them, and the experience gives me reason to reconsider my assumptions about working with external advisors for this kind of work.”
- Ben Challis, Gloucestershire Housing Partnership Programme Manager
Sovereign Housing Association
ARK Consultancy has worked closely with the team at Sovereign to develop the baseline for our strategic asset management strategy. Using the ARK Strategic Asset Performance Model (ASAP) which is a sophisticated, cloud-based assessment tool, with a dynamic dashboard, they took multiple data sets and assessed relative qualitative and financial performance for all of Sovereign’s rented assets. The data is modelled against our own Home and Place Standard and it has helped us to identify where we need more strategic intervention or investment. It is really helping us accelerate our strategy and investment plans.
Sovereign’s approach to asset management is to create the right homes in the right places through strategic investment, regeneration and new development, whilst also addressing the 2050 zero carbon target. This is a complex algorithm, but ARK’s asset management knowledge, consultancy expertise and sophisticated data modelling has helped us to really understand both where we are now and what we need to do to deliver our long-term vision for current and future customers.
Working with colleagues at ARK was great – this was a complex challenge that we resolved together, in a timely manner and as an integrated team.
- Kevin Williamson, Strategic Asset Management Director
We recently had 2 colleagues placed with us through Ark to support while we were in recruitment phases. Both colleagues were experienced, extremely knowledgeable and fit straight into the team, they were a brilliant help.
- Amanda Swann, Development Director
Rooftop Housing Group
We have been working with ARK for over ten years and during that time they have provided first-class development support.
We have found the ARK team to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic and supportive. They carry the gravitas needed to negotiate assertively, are convincing when facing the Board, Executive Team and residents and are development experts who add real value.
- David Hannon, Development Director
“ARK stepped in at an important time for Watmos with Paul coming in as Interim Assets Director and providing leadership and stability to our service delivery arrangements. Ark have provided a wide range of services to ranging from development advice, advice on tower block investment decisions, and a road map for improving front line responsive repairs services along with hands on support to ensure our desired outcomes are achieved.
ARK have also supported our organisation to evaluate the current asset management team and make recommendations for a new structure taking into account the emerging building safety legislation and best practice.”
- Kul Bains, Chief Executive
Gloucester City Council
“Gloucester City Council were seeking consultancy support to provide expert knowledge and skills required to recruit a new Housing Innovation Manager. Following our relationship with ARK and their reputation for delivering excellence, we appointed ARK to lead on the recruitment for this role. ARK co-ordinated the recruitment campaigns utilising a wide variety of platforms and sifted the CV’s and applications we received. They further conducted applicant interviews and shortlisting and made justifiable recommendations for the most suitable candidate for the role. We are delighted with the high-quality service we received from ARK, their approach was bespoked to our needs and the team ensured they understood and delivered the Council’s requirements.”
- Ruth Saunders, Head of Communities
The Community Housing Group
“ARK has been an important partner and their work in our development team and on our programme has been excellent. Their consultant drove the scale of the programme, helped us work through the strategy, drafted procedures and led our team in the inception and delivery phases. ARK were instrumental in our being shortlisted for the Best Small Development Team category at the Inside Housing Development Awards”
- Ian Hancock, Group Director
Valleys to Coast
“ARK embraced the challenge we presented and worked with V2C to develop an inclusive approach and helped us scope the potential of our future programme”
- Darrin Davies, Development and Asset Investment Director
Red Kite Community Housing
“ARK were a great partner to work with, together we articulated the vision for our Development Strategy, and were able to quantify our ambition in respect of what new homes development was possible. We have now got a comprehensive strategy that sets the direction over a five year period and something that we can build-on going forward into the next phase of our development programme. ARK understood our operating context, our constraints and tested our approach. The organisation worked exceptionally well with our tenant group who also fed in to the process for delivering a strong and relevant strategic document”
- Mark Haines, Assistant Director – Technical
ARK worked with Silva for 12 months on a variety of projects from ASAP, Category C option appraisals to a review of the garage portfolio. Across a wide range of work the relationship was positive and constructive. Adrian Redmond was based in Silva for a number of months and sought to contribute constructively on projects ARK were commissioned to undertake and offer his expertise if asked on other aspects of planned and responsive repairs.
The outcome from the work undertaken by ARK has positively contributed toward the Silva Asset Strategy and work plans we have implemented to improve service delivery.
- Laura Johnson, Executive Director (Assets & Growth)
"We were very happy with project results but also very impressed with their approach and professionalism, and commitment to understand the unique nature of our business. It meant we had expertise we could trust, that made business planning easier and the whole work has added focus and value to our plans."
- Anna Walsh, Chief Executive Officer
Inquilab Housing Association
"We appointed ARK Consultancy to help us to review the way we delivered our repairs service. Their expert advice and support has led to a step change in the delivery of our services and most importantly improved communication with our customers."
- Gina Amoh, Chief Executive
Grand Union Housing Group
"I just wanted to feed back to you as our paper to proceed with this scheme, which includes your report as a key element, has been reviewed by our Exec Team, Development Committee and Board. All had very positive feedback about your report and the comprehensive research it provided. They felt it was a really useful piece of work which provided them with the confidence to approve the scheme, and we can now move forward with the project, which is really exciting!
Thank you again for your work on this and turning it around in such short timescales."
- Nikki Barnes, Development Manager
"We worked with ARK at a time when the organisation was facing a period of great change. We wanted to support our staff by providing them with the tools and techniques to be able to embrace this change while still performing at their best and maintaining their well-being.
ARK worked with us to create a bespoke solution that was delivered to over 400 people. They also created an online learning resource that will be used to support our people in the future. The feedback on the training has been excellent and we'd highly recommend them."
- Lisa Ashton, L&D Business Partner
“Helen has been working with us as an advisor, motivator and facilitator. She’s also a creative and reliable partner, one who challenges us positively and helps to maintain the drive and enthusiasm we need to make successful progress.
We’ve worked with Helen for over five years now on different projects and she’s had a tremendous impact in converting our ambitions into specific strategies and action. From support for acquisitions to developing project plans and regeneration strategies, Helen has helped us both crystallise and realise our goals: a tremendous professional asset for the business.
Helen’s been an inspiration throughout – showing a real passion in working alongside the organisation to help us realise our social mission”
- Bill Lovat, Regional Director
Walsall Housing Group (whg)
“We are very pleased with the sessions that ARK created specifically for us. They took the time to meet with us and really understand the challenges our colleagues are facing and designed a solution to meet their needs.
The feedback from the training has been excellent and we have asked them to come back and deliver more sessions to other colleagues.”
- Victoria Roden, HR Manager
South Lakes Housing
“The support we received from ARK has been invaluable. Their asset grading model provided us with a comprehensive understanding of our asset performance and their experience and knowledge helped us undertake an options appraisal process for our most challenging assets”
- Elaine Glennon, Asset Manager
Black Country Talent Match
"At BCTM, we strongly believe that all young people are talented and can reach their full potential if only given the right opportunities in life. We are proud of young people’s successes and value the support of all our delivery partners and key stakeholders. Working alongside Helen and the team has allowed us to effectively demonstrate and communicate the social value and impact of the work we do and the progress our young people make”.
- Kim Babb, Project Manager
Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd
I am very pleased to provide a testimonial for ARK Consultancy. We utilised ARK to advise in the field of In-house Contracting and the level of knowledge and professionalism that Ark brought to help our business was impressive.
Through a long term interim appointment Ark helped CCG to transform our in-house contracting team. We have improved the service dramatically, going from lower to upper quartile performance across the board; resulting in significantly lower costs and higher customer satisfaction. We have also seen a positive mindset develop within our team, with the foundations laid for our continuing future improvement.
- Ian Atkinson, Director of Assets and Infrastructure
Ranjit Johal the Post-Graduate Professional Development Manager from Coventry University is delighted with our contribution to their post-graduate international degree programme and said: “ We are really pleased to be working with ARK, they are a very supportive partner who fully engage with the process, provide interesting challenges for our students and then offer great support to the students whilst they work with the ARK team. ARK truly values the contribution of our students”.
- Ranjit Johal
Futures Housing Group
“As an organisation we are looking at how we can develop more resilience in our People. Jo delivered a training session which covered a lot of information, delivered in concise chunks that were easy to absorb. The structure was clear, logical and effective. The model covered was really practical and easy to use."
- Karen Allen, HR Business Partner
Cadwyn Housing Association
"Having worked with ARK Consultancy for a number of years, and more recently on the review of our asset strategy, I am pleased to report that Cadwyn’s board has been very impressed by the way in which ARK has worked with the team to build a greater understanding of our assets and asset strategy."
- Andrew Bateson, Director of Operations
"We have been working with ARK Consultancy to affect transformation in the delivery of our asset management service. ARK has been an excellent long term partner. They are committed to our goals, work hard and provide innovative ideas and solutions. Their people understand our business and how to improve it."
- Rod Cahill, Chief Executive
“The training has helped me to question what I do and how I do it. Some aspects of the training led to real ‘light bulb’ moments in that I was able to recognise myself so clearly and, having had such moments, I am far better able to understand how my reaction to situations can impact on my team, my colleagues generally and also on myself. All that and Joanne was a really engaging trainer. A good day all-round! “
- Senior Manager
- Gloucester City Homes
- The Riverside Group
- Cynon Taf Housing Association
Stroud District Council
"We have been really pleased with ARK Consultancy's sales and marketing service. They have provided sound advice, regular updates and challenge when needed. Their approach to our customers has been excellent and you can tell ARK really cares that the outcomes meet the customer's needs and circumstances."
- Julian Kent, Development Officer
“ARK Consultancy is very professional, challenging and fun to work with. They provide solutions that are tailored for the client; nothing off the shelf here! The approach taken by ARK encourages participation and engagement across the organisation, generating buy-in for any proposals made, adding great value to the business planning process.”
- Patrick Clarke, Commercial Director
- Watford Community Housing Trust
Riverside Housing Group
“ARK Consultancy has delivered large stock rationalisation processes effectively and efficiently, whilst resolving some difficult challenges. We have found them to be intuitive and hardworking. ARK offers a comprehensive approach and delivers a professional service.”
- James Hill, Director of Property Strategy
- B3 Living
- Bristol City Council
Bath and North East Somerset Council
“We have successfully worked with ARK Consultancy on a range of planning policy matters in relation to affordable housing. ARK’s understanding of the process and ability to represent views from different perspectives together with their detailed hands-on knowledge has proved invaluable in developing the evidence base for our affordable housing policies, in undertaking viability assessments for schemes, and in understanding affordable housing negotiations.”
- Cleo Newcombe-Jones, Urban Planner
Cheltenham Borough Homes
“ARK Consultancy has been instrumental in our success in delivering regeneration and new affordable housing. They have provided strategic and operational support through project and interim appointments, and we are pleased to endorse their credentials as leading affordable housing development and regeneration consultants.”
- Paul Stephenson, Chief Executive
- Rooftop Housing Group
Thames Valley Housing Association
“ARK Consultancy was selected because of their experience in this field and their holistic approach to the process. On a personal note, we have enjoyed working with the team at ARK. We have found their professional advice to be reliable and of a high standard, calling upon their considerable experience in our sector. We have no hesitation in recommending ARK.”
- Tim Grannell, Head of Policy & Performance
Bristol City Council
“ARK Consultancy is an able partner of the council and their advice and support has proved invaluable in negotiating the viability of schemes. ARK has established the viability position and obtained the agreement of all parties by defining the point at which affordable housing obligations can be realised.”
- Alison Straw, Manager Major Schemes
Nottingham Community Housing Association
“We are delighted to have worked with ARK Consultancy to deliver our joint vision to create a partnership that would work to build on our existing training and employability strategies. The acquisition of Access Training will enable us to extend our services to our wider community and help deliver one of NCHA’s key visions of creating “better lives”. ARK has been instrumental in pulling together the project, and the support we have been given throughout the process has been invaluable. Quite simply, we could not have done this without them.”
- Mike Andrews, Chief Executive
“We used the services of ARK Consultancy to help us put £150m of properties into charge to finance new loans. This was a challenging task in a tight time frame that required finding and checking documents and obtaining variation agreements from local authorities. The blend of development and legal knowledge of the ARK consultant was crucial in helping to resolve solicitors’ queries efficiently.”
- Ian McLeod, Head of Treasury Services
Gloucester City Homes
“Helen Scurr, director of ARK Consultancy, has been working with GCH to develop and implement a range of business development opportunities as part of our strategic corporate plan. She has brought tremendous insight, capacity and experience to our organisation, which has enabled us to move rapidly into the market place. She is a fantastic asset to GCH and it is a pleasure to work with her."
- Ashley Green, Chief Executive
The Pioneer Group
“I have worked with ARK Consultancy over a number of years and during this time we have built a very good relationship. They have a strong track record of identifying excellent talent and understand their client’s needs. I can rely on ARK for honest and straightforward advice, which I value and appreciate. Their interim managers don’t just keep a seat warm but do work that really enables someone who is coming into a permanent role to hit the ground running.”
- Simon Wilson, Housing and Customer Services Director
Denbighshire County Council
“ARK Consultancy was appointed to develop a programme to intensively mentor a small team of housing solutions officers and enable them to undertake person-centred housing assessments and develop personal housing plans in partnership with customers who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. ARK provided us with specialist consultants who worked with our team independently and collectively to develop their resilience, intensive person-centred interviewing skills, and individual development plans. We found ARK to be professional and flexible in their approach. Both individually and collectively, our team has benefited from their support.”
- John Sweeney, Community Support Services